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House Committee Approves Commerce, Justice, Science Spending Bill

On May 20, the House Appropriations Committee approved, by voice vote, the FY2016 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies spending bill (as-yet-unnumbered). The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies passed the measure on May 14 (see The Source, 5/15/15).

According to the committee report, the bill would allocate $51.4 billion overall for FY2016. This amount is $1.3 billion above FY2015, but $661 million below President Obama’s FY2016 request. Included in this amount is $27.5 billion for the Department of Justice (DoJ)

Citing increased instances of severe harassment, stalking, and threats transmitted via the Internet, particularly against women, the committee urges DoJ to increase its efforts to combat cyber-stalking and threat crimes (p. 31).

The committee “is concerned with the ongoing sexual assault kit backlog in jurisdictions across the country.” The bill includes $41 million in the bill to address the backlog (p. 41).

The committee encourages the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to examine ways to support nonprofits and other nongovernmental entities to administer successful prevention and early intervention programs for girls vulnerable to trafficking (p. 47).

Expressing its disappointment with recent Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports detailing sexual misconduct and harassment by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents while on overseas assignment, the committee noted that it expects the DEA and DoJ to “close the gaps” identified in the OIG report and address employee misconduct (p. 40).

The committee encourages the International Trade Administration to ensure that it is providing suitable support and services for women-, minority- and veteran-owned firms that are seeking aid in gaining access to foreign markets for their products and services (p. 5).

During the consideration of the measure, the committee adopted, by voice vote, two amendments by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). The first amendment would add $5 million to the Department of Justice Rape Survivor Child Custody Act (P.L. 102-393) program to terminate rapists’ parental custodial rights. The second amendment would designate $1 million in funding within Missing and Exploited Children Program to hire wounded warriors to assist with these cases.

The following chart details funding for program important to women and their families.

Program/Agency

FY2015

President Obama’s Request

FY2016

Department of Justice

Office on Violence Against Women $430 million $473.5 million $474 million
Grants to Combat Violence Against Women (STOP Grants) $195 million $193 million $196 million
Transitional Housing Assistance $26 million $25 million $28 million
Research and Evaluation on Violence Against Women $3 million $3 million $8 million
Consolidated Youth-Oriented Program $10 million $10 million $11 million
Sexual Assault Victims Services $30 million $27 million $35 million
Rural Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Enforcement $33 million $33 million $33 million
Violence on College Campuses $12 million $26 million $16 million
Civil Legal Assistance $42.5 million $52.5 million $42.5 million
Elder Abuse Grant Program $4.5 million 4.25 million $4.5 million
Family Civil Justice $16 million $16 million $16 million
Education and Training for Disabled Female Victims $6 million $5.75 million $6 million
National Resource Center on Workplace Responses $500,000 $500,000 $500,000
Research on Violence Against Indian Women $1 million $1 million $1 million
Indian Country Sexual Assault Clearinghouse $500,000 $500, 000 $500,000
Victims of trafficking $42.25 million $10.5 million $25 million*
Office of Justice Programs $1.691 billion $1.722 billion $1.287 billion
Prison Rape Prevention and Prosecution $13 million $10.5 million $13 million
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) $6 million $6 million $6 million
DNA Initiative $125 million $100 million $125 million
Debbie Smith Backlog Grants $117 million Did not specify $117 million
Sexual Assault Forensic Exams $4 million Did not specify $4 million

Related Agencies

Legal Services Corporation $375 million $452 million $300 million
Commission on Civil Rights $9.2 million $9.413 million $9.2 million
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission $364.5 million $373.112 million $364.5 million

 

* The committee notes that the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S. 178), which the committee expects to be signed into law, would establish a domestic trafficking fund that would provide additional resources for human trafficking task force activities and for services for victims. (p. 47).

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